Siberian Unicorn May Have Lived Alongside Humans

Ok, first things first, the “Siberian unicorn” wasn’t a unicorn at all but rather a rhinoceros. But where is the fun in that when you can call it a unicorn? According to the dating of a skull find in Kazakhstan, it likely lived at the same time as humans as opposed to well before humans were roaming the earth as scientists had thought.

This is about as close as you’ll get to unicorn so just take it

Artwork of the unicorn dates back to the Indus valley as well as to the Ancient Greeks. Contrary to popular belief, Greek mythology never mentioned the unicorn but rather it showed up in ancient writings about natural history written by Greek scholars. Through Reconnaissance an Middle Age writing the unicorn continued to pop up as a (generally) white horse, with a single horn that would approach you if you found yourself lost in the forest. It’s unwillingness to pop in on crowds of people helped the creature become a thing of “myth.”

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Whether you believe in unicorns or not the Elasmotherium sibiricum has been called the “Siberian unicorn” and according to a recent paper in the “American Journal of Applied Science” it lived a lot longer than when paleontologists originally thought it went extinct. Prior to the a recent find of a well-preserved fossilized skull fragment discovered near Kozhamzhar village, Pavlodar, Kazakhstan, scientists had believed that the “Siberian unicorn” went extinct about 350,000 years ago. Now, thanks to the find it looks as if it may have only gone extinct 29,000 years ago.

The stuff of legends

“Most likely, the south of Western Siberia was a refúgium, where this rhino persevered the longest in comparison with the rest of its range. There is another possibility that it could migrate and dwell for a while in the more southern areas,” said Andrey Shpanski, a paleontologist at Tomsk State University (TSU).

Speaking to the skull after radiocarbon dating was done at Queen’s University, Belfast, in the U.K., “Most likely, it was a very large male of very large individual age (teeth not preserved). The dimensions of this rhino are the biggest of those described in the literature, and the proportions are typical,” said the scientist.